Five good reasons to stop sending a cover letter with your CV or resume
Did you send a cover letter with your last CV? Was it aligned to the role that you were applying for? In my humble opinion, the cover letter, along with the handwritten calligraphy CV, have become recruitment artefacts. I hope by the end of this article you will understand why I feel so strongly about this.
My main reasons for not adding a cover letter to your CV are as follows:
The recruitment process is now automated
Most companies, and recruitment agencies for that matter will ask you to submit your CV online. These online systems do not allow you to upload a cover letter so it is a complete waste of your time to write one. A cover letter was far more suited to the pre-digital age of recruitment.
Is your cover letter aligned to the job that you are applying for?
This is a big bugbear of mine. Recruiters receive countless cover letters that start with Dear Jane/Peter/Lesego – none of which are their names! I find this offensive and am already ‘turned off’ the candidate as they haven’t taken the time to research who they are sending their CV to.
in the past, I have also had candidates telling me in their cover letters that they are the best C# Developer in the country; meanwhile, they are applying for a role as an IT Business Analyst. This again shows that the candidate has not done their research on the role that they are applying for. Unfortunately, one cover letter does not fit all!
Who has time to read a cover letter these days?
We live in such a fast paced environment, where people do not have time to sit and read through the countless cover letters that people send with their CVs. It’s almost physically impossible to read all of the CVs that we receive, let alone the cover letters too! Also, what is the point of reading a cover letter if the applicant doesn’t have the necessary qualifications or skills for the role in the first place? I personally can vouch for most Recruiters, in-house and agency, who skip straight to the education section of candidate’s CVs and then move directly onto their work histories to assess their experience.
Rather focus your precious time on your CV and LinkedIn profiles
We understand that your spare time is limited, so rather focus your energies where they will have the greatest impact. Does your CV stand out from your peers? Is your CV in a professional format, with the same font used throughout with no spelling or grammatical errors? Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Have you asked people for endorsements or even better, recommendations? Have you added all of your courses, diplomas and degrees to your profile? This is time better spent in my opinion.
Why do you insist on repeating yourself?
Most people just regurgitate the information in their CV onto their cover letter. What is the point of this? People are going to read your CV regardless so why do they need to read a cover letter too?
The only time that I feel you should include a cover letter is when you are asked for one. Which in my experience, will be never. I have had to ask candidates to write a motivational letter but this is normally a fair way into the recruitment process and the client is trying to decide between their two tops candidates. A totally different scenario to starting with a motivational cover letter.
So in conclusion, please stop adding a cover letter to your application. Rather write a professional introduction letter in the body of the email that you are sending to the company or Recruiter. Never underestimate the impact that a well written, professional email can add to your application. First impressions count and if your email can stand out from the hundreds of others that HR professionals receive every day, you are almost guaranteed to get called for that elusive first interview.
If you would like assistance with compiling a CV that will guarantee that you stand ‘head and shoulders’ above your competition, get in touch with me. I am happy to help with CV writing advice and how to ensure that you ace your first interview.